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13 January 2011

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Clifford Kiracofe

I find it interesting that the March 8 Alliance is described as "Hizbullah" in the US press. This gives the impression that the political opposition is entirely "radical, extremist, Islamist" or whatever.

Why are such pains taken to gloss over the Christian participation of the Aoun faction in the alliance?

How often is Aoun intereviewed in the US press? He is carried in the French press and in the Middle East press.

To make Israeli propaganda easier in the US? As if some Christians in Lebanon are not allied for the time being with the Shia Hizbullah?

Matthew

Col: " Iran continues to provide "depth" to Hizbullah's military efforts in terms of supply, training and theater level backing for deterrence of Israel. This is exactly what Israel does not want."

Could you expand this, please?

dh

Hariri could surprise everybody and just drop the tribunal.

Patrick Lang

Matthew

I think it is self-explanatory but if someone else wants to talk more about it they should feel free to do so. pl

Cloned_Poster

PL, hezbollah etc

walrus

Without the "existential threat" provided by Iran, Netanyahu is caught with his pants down.

Hezbollah is a poor substitute, provided they don't deliberately provoke Netanyahu before, during or after the formation of a new Lebanese Government.

That situation leaves Israel open to pressure from the moderate Diaspora, and Americans, regarding settlements and peace negotiations with the Palestinians in general, because they get away with a lot of their actions by conflating them with the "existential threat' argument.

I could see the logic in Israel wanting to attack North to the line of the Litani river, that would provide a "buffer zone" but that would require about a Thirty Kilometre advance across a Thirty Five Kilometre front through Hezbollah country. I don't think Col. Lang believes that is "doable" in the sense that the casualty bill would be huge, even if they succeeded.

Then there is the question of exactly who would administer that area. Would the U.N. allow the creation of another Gaza? I don't think so.

Maybe the best answer for Netanyahu is to hand the problem to a new government and snipe from the sidelines.


markfromireland

Oh for crying out loud Colonel there you go talking sense again. :-)

Not what the zealots want to hear.

What are the odds on the Israeli government taking complete leave of its senses and acting against Iran and Lebanon simultaneously?

J

Israel's making their own bed, and they're going to have to lie in it whether they like it or not. I find it amusing and angry regarding it at the same time. Amusing in that the Israeli bully is finally tasting their own carnage for a change, and angry in that so many innocents are the 'victims' of Israel's barbaric behavior.

Patrick Lang

CP

What? You don't like the way I spell it in English. well, I am a professor of the arabic language and you are...?

"Hizb" means "party."

"Allah" is God's name in Arabic.

"Hizbullah" is an "idafa," a noun-noun construct meaning in this case "the party of God" since the first term is always possessed by the second.

The pronunciation of the construct requires the sound "u" between the terms. There is no "o" sound in Arabic. Anything else? pl

William R. Cumming

Seems once again Lebanon would be less of a security issue to all if part of Syria? Am I wrong?

Allen Thomson

> Left to its own devices the Israelis are faced with the prospect of acting against Iran alone (likely to be a losing effort)...

Bear with me, because I'm anything but a Middle East expert.

But --

If

- Israeli ruling circles really think that Iran is about to become the feared "existential threat",

and

- They really think that they're on their own for all practical purposes

and

- They think that they don't have the conventional military wherewithal to deal with the problem

then

- What do they do?

It's obvious where I'm going with this, and I'd appreciate being told that there's no problem because one or more of the above premises is wrong.

mo

Colonel,
Just in case things weren't complicated enough, not all of Jumblatts mps will vote with him if he goes with the opposition as a few were foisted on him by Hariri and owe their loyalties there.

Obviously this is all a result of the STL which in my opinion was the last ditch attempt to weaken/remove the Hizbullah "threat" by the US-Israeli coalition by other means. Now that has failed, the attack on Lebanon can only be a matter of time.

Clifford Kiracofe

So what about the issue of the "false witnesses" at the Special Tribunal?

The pro-Israel US media doesn't seem to be reporting much on this.

"Now, Rafiq's son - Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri – said he had been wrong to accuse Damascus for the murder adding that the charges had been politically motivated.

Politically motivated or not – Hariri's climb down represented a shift in the balance of power in the region.

Hariri also admitted that witnesses who came forward after the bombing made "false testimonies" that pointed the finger of blame at Syria.

Even before the special international tribunal on the Hariri assassination was established, Syria and its Lebanon allies questioned its credibility alleging it was created for political motives.

Hariri's admission, however, was not enough for the Syrian leadership and the Lebanese opposition. They want the Lebanon government to try the so-called false witnesses to find out who was behind them since their statements misled the investigations.

The special Hariri court says it's no longer concerned with those witnesses since they made their testimonies to a UN investigation commission before the court was set up. But the opposition allege that is not enough to prove the tribunal is working objectively.

Some of the witnesses who came forward have since withdrawn their testimonies with a few saying they were made under duress.

"The government has admitted the existence of false witnesses but they do not want to try them because it is the one that made them," Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun said. |If the authorities were innocent, they would put them on trial and we would know the truth"."
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/10/06/false-witnesses-and-truth

So if there were indeed false witnesses implicating Hizbullah, then who paid them their 40 pieces of silver? Israel? US? Saudi? Who...???

Norbert M. Salamon

Methinks that the
USA erred in Foreign
Policy measures with respect to the STL in an attempt to help Israel.

There seems to be a shortage of ME experts [Culture, language etc] in the White House, and there are non in AIPEC from what little I have read of their pronouncements. With this background, and considerting the USA's inability to rein in Israel, the sole RATIONAL SOLUTION is that the USA withdfraw both militarily [including armament sales] and politically to save her efforts to solve the internal problems within the 50 States.
Unfortunately there is no hoppe of such withdrawal, and the price will be very high for both Israel and USA [and possibly for Lebanese and other ME citizens/residents.

Adam L Silverman

Sir,

According to this article, the March 8th Movement/coalition claims that it has enough seats in parliament to form a majority government:
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=123602#axzz1AtqwjvNg

Tyler

Colonel,

So if Israel decides to go into Lebanon yet again, do you think when they're repulsed that HA will follow and cross into Israel?

I know that HA's likely MTOE would preclude that, since they seem like a light infantry army with an eye towards defense and attrition.

On the other hand, its been five years since we've seen them in action. "Counting coup" by crossing into Israel, regardless of whether or not they keep the land they occupy, would drive their prestige through the ceiling, I'd think.

Perhaps they're relying on the idea of the Army being forced to deal with columns of refugees fleeing before HA? Supposedly they've gotten shoulder to air missile systems, and wouldn't THAT be a surprise for pilots that have traditionally relied on fighting opponents with small arms at best. We saw in the Mog what a dedicated person can do with an RPG.

Of course, if HA does manage to occupy an Israeli city we're going to hear stories of "terrorists killing babies in incubators", ala the Republican Guard in Kuwait City.

I know a lot of that is empty speculation, but Nasirbullah (spelling, I apologize) has said that the next time Israel invades will be the last.

So after all that, my questions to you are:

- What do you think is the likelihood of another Israel/Lebanon war?

- Do you see HA repeating thier 2006 success?

- If they do, do you think they will invade Israel?

- What will be the rest of the world's response? I imagine the US' response is going to be hysterical as if the SS had marched into DC during WWII and had just invaded New York.

zanzibar

The BBC has an interesting article from last November where a Hizbullah minister claims that Israel has penetrated the Lebanese telecom network. It also discusses a Canadian documentary film based on information from the Tribunal.

I am curious about the political dynamics in Lebanon and what the agenda of the leading players are?

DanM

I ask this in earnest (and a little embarresment -- i've never been to lebanon, which pains me and I know far less than i'd like about it): Who would be the PM in a March 8 government?

Phil Cattar

It is going to be interesting to see what happens in Lebanon.The Israelis tried occupying southern Lebanon before but literally left in the middle of the night because of all the headaches the Shia caused them.Now Hizbullah has 50000 rockets,some capable of reaching Tel Aviv and have fortified their positions very well .Plus they are truly an army of "true believers".The Israelis might have their eyes on the waters of the Litani among other things.The big roadblock to a peaceful settlement might be that all of the players:Israel,Syria,Iran,US,Hizbullah,Christian/Sunni coalition and Druse, all have different goals.I put the Saudis closer to the US and christian /sunni Lebanese side.I do not think Israel wants a war now .They might as well wait and hope they get a pro Israel president in the White House in two years.Especially since the Iran threat seems to have been pushed back.With a pro Israel president the Israelis can kill four 4 birds with one war namely Iran,Syria,Hamas and Hizbullah.It might even play into Israels hand if Lebanon would fall to Hizbullah.Syria probably does not want this because they want to be the dog in Lebanon not the tail and really dont want Iran/Hizbullah controlling Lebanon.It will be interesting to see what the White House does if Hizbullah makes a move to take over the country.My sympathies are with the Christian/Sunni coalition .Michel Aoun represents only a small segment of the Christians.

Twit

Col,

Regarding the spelling and pronunciation of Hizbullah in English, I have also seen it transliterated as "Hizballah"? Is this for some reason (other than I presume that a 'u' sound just easier to say in this context than an 'a')?

J

Colonel,

Feltman can be blamed for a lot of the 'stuff' that is going on in Lebanon. I say that Feltman is nothing but a 'tool' of the Israeli government who undermined U.S. interests, and needs to be tried criminally for not registering himself as an agent of a foreign government, and booted out of U.S. Federal Services. Again, that is my 'opinion' regarding Feltman.

Patrick Lang

twit

So long as one does not think it is "Hezbollah" I don't care. pl

Jackie

J,
Who is Feltman? Is he in the US govt?

Sorry for not being up to speed on this individual. Any help would be appreciated.

mo

Theodore,
HA created by Iran? HA=Iran? HA will stop civilians fleeing? HA has converted villages and towns into military bases? Wow, the full gamut of propaganda there, well done. But hey, if you Israelis are as confident as you make out, all the better.

Tyler,
In 2006 battles crossed the border more often than HA thought possible. Will they cross the line? Shortly after the war, Nasrallah gave a speech where he promised that this was the last war that would take place on Lebanese soil. However, I doubt they would go as far as trying to take a town or city since their intention in crossing the border would be only to serve the purpose of showing Israelis that the interior is no longer the safe haven it used to be.

DanM,
There are a few possible candidates but the difficulty for any one of them as a Sunni (which the PM has to be) is that they would be crossing the man most Lebanese Sunnis consider their figurehead. The most likely suspect will be Omar Karami, as he hails from Tripoli which is a Sunni town that likes to see itself as "more Sunni" than the Beirut and Sidon Sunnis (such as Hariri). And as a further twist to this whole affair, is the brother of another assasinated PM, whose killer happens to now be an ally of Hariri.

Kunuri

In Turkish, it also spells "Hizbullah", Turkey being the only country having discarded Arabic script for Latin alphabet. Somehow, given the long relationship of Turkish with Arabic language and script, Turkish spellings of Arabic words come out more accurate than those of English.

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